Alex McKinnon, the Newcastle Knights forward who was left in a wheelchair after a tackle went horribly wrong against Melbourne on March 24, posted a heartfelt statement on photo-sharing app Instagram on Tuesday night saying he was ready to succeed in a new career.
“Just watched highlights of 2012/13 of me playing hard to think I’ll never play again and know what could of been…” the 22-year-old back-rower from Aberdeen wrote in a short statement.
Positive about a future beyond the game, he wrote “I’ve spent the last 5 months not dwelling on what could of been but now towards a focus of what I want to make a success. Yes rugby league was my drive before though my real drive in life is just to succeed & if that be in a new career then that I will do!”
The rugby league community has rallied around McKinnon since the accident via a number of fund-raising activities, and the NRL is aiming to have a foundation in place by the end of the year to help any other severely injured players who have slipped through the cracks.
In July, the NRL’s Rise For Alex McKinnon raised over $1.1 million for the injured forward.
At the time, NRL CEO Dave Smith said officials were committed to ensuring injured players would never be left without support.
“At the end of the day, this is a very, very safe game. But when tragic accidents happen, as they did with Alex, we need to make sure we are catering for players not just within their playing contracts but realising it is going to impact on their lives”.